KARACHI: The kinno export target for the current season has been reduced to 250,000 tonnes, keeping in view issues and restrictions in the Russian and Iranian markets.

According to data shared by All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA), last season, the export target of 300,000 tonnes could not be attained and only 280,000 tonnes were exported. Export in 2014-15 was 375,000 tonnes which fell to 300,000 tonnes in 2015-16.

This season, kinno exports got under way from Dec 1 and so far some 800 kinno containers weighing 20,000 tonnes were exported to Russia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the UAE. The production of kinno in the current season is expected at 1.9 million tonnes to two million tonnes.

Patron-in-chief PFVA, Waheed Ahmed attributed the fall in exports to lack of interest on part of the Punjab government, high cost of production, stiff competition and various trade barriers imposed by Iran, Europe and Russia.

“For the last six years, kinno could not be exported to Iran due to reluctance in issuance of import permit by the Iranian government,” Mr Ahmed said.

Due to production of small size kinno in abundance, export to Russia has assumed special significance where this size is in great demand, he said.

However, import valuation of Pakistani kinno is unrealistically higher by $3 per 10 kg, which makes it almost impossible to compete with Egypt, Morocco and Turkey in the Russian market, he added.

Demand of Pakistani kinno in the international markets is on sharp decline due to its poor appearance, too many seeds and infection. Pakistan had self-imposed a temporary embargo on export of kinno to the UK and Europe in 2014, thereby averting a likely ban to the region.

PFVA has been urging the government for last several years regarding research and development to improve kinno quality. Punjab has more than 90 per cent of cultivation area but it has not paid any attention towards kinno, he added.

PFVA has demanded freight subsidy of $2,500 per export container enabling exporters to encounter stiff competition from Egypt, Turkey and Morocco.

Issuance of quota in December by the Indonesian government would lead to further enhancement of export of Pakistani kinno, he added.

According to Mr Ahmed, Pakistani kinno is also exported to Central Asian countries via land route. “Due to problems being created by Afghan authorities, export to these states is likely to be affected. The government must resolve issues by negotiating with Afghan government,” he stressed.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2017